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2018 DIGITALMARKETING PLANSSurvey Summary ReportResearch Series Conducted inPartnership with Leading MarketingTechnology Companies and DigitalMarketing Agencies

TABLE OF CONTENTS3.2018 Digital Marketing Plans4.Most Important Objectives5.Success Achieving Objectives6.Critical Challenges to Success7.How Objectives and Challenges Compare8.Budget Changes in the Year Ahead9.Most Effective Tactics10. How Tactical Effectiveness is Changing11. Most Difficult Tactics to Execute12. Resources Used to Execute Tactics13. How Effectiveness and Difficulty Compare14. About Ascend215. Research Partner ProgramsMethodologyAscend2 benchmarks theperformance of marketingtechnology, strategies and tacticsusing a standardized onlinequestionnaire and a proprietary3-Minute Survey format.This survey was fielded to a panelof marketing influencers andresearch subscribers during theweek of November 26, 2017.2

2018 DIGITAL MARKETING PLANSAn effective digital marketing plan contains a series oftactics used to achieve your most important marketingobjectives.Sounds simple, but what will an effective digital marketingplan look like in 2018?To find out, Ascend2 and our Research Partners fielded the2018 Digital Marketing Plans Survey. We applaud themarketing influencers responding to this survey for sharingtheir valuable insights with us, and you.This Survey Summary Report, titled 2018 Digital MarketingPlans, represents the average of all the market segmentsresponding to the survey. Specific market segments fromthe survey are reported on separately and exclusively byour participating Research Partners.This research has been produced for your use. Put it towork in your own marketing strategy. Clip the charts andwrite about them in your blog or post them on socialmedia. Please share this research credited as published.Enjoy!Survey RespondentsN 271Number of EmployeesMore than 50050 to 500Fewer than 5035%39%26%Role in the CompanyOwner / Partner / C-Level 40%VP / Director / Manager46%Non-Mgmt Professional14%Primary Marketing ChannelB2B Business-to-Business 43%B2C Business-to-Consumer 35%B2B and B2C Equally22%3

MOST IMPORTANT OBJECTIVESFor 18% of marketing influencers, important objectives for a digital marketingplan to achieve are increasing lead generation and increasing sales revenue.17% of marketing influencers point to improving brand awareness as a mostimportant digital marketing plan objective.2018 Digital Marketing Plan SurveyAscend2 and Research Partners, December 20174

SUCCESS ACHIEVING OBJECTIVESA 57% majority of marketing influencers consider a digital marketing planvery successful at achieving important objectives, describing it as best-inclass. Another 47% consider it somewhat successful. Only 2% pessimisticallydescribe digital marketing planning as unsuccessful at achieving objectives.2018 Digital Marketing Plan SurveyAscend2 and Research Partners, December 20175

CRITICAL CHALLENGES TO SUCCESSA most critical challenge to the success of a digital marketing plan is dataquality. Without data quality improvements, advances such as marketingpersonalization can not be practiced. Lead generation and user experienceare also critical challenges for 15% of the marketing influencers surveyed.2018 Digital Marketing Plan SurveyAscend2 and Research Partners, December 20176

HOW OBJECTIVES AND CHALLENGES COMPAREObjectives that are significantly more important than challenging to achieve,such as increasing sales revenue and improving brand awareness, arestrategically preferable to objectives that are more challenging thanimportant to achieve, such as improving data quality.2018 Digital Marketing Plan SurveyAscend2 and Research Partners, December 20177

BUDGET CHANGES IN THE YEAR AHEADThe trend for digital marketing budgets continues to increase for a total of93% of marketing influencers, with 41% describing the increase as significant.This trend may reflect a positive outlook for continued business growth in theyear ahead.2018 Digital Marketing Plan SurveyAscend2 and Research Partners, December 20178

MOST EFFECTIVE TACTICSSocial media marketing, content marketing and the marketing technologythat drives these tactics, are most effective for 18%, 17% and 16% of marketinginfluencers respectively.2018 Digital Marketing Plan SurveyAscend2 and Research Partners, December 20179

HOW TACTICAL EFFECTIVENESS IS CHANGINGTactical effectiveness is changing in a very promising way for a total of 94% ofmarketing influencers, with slightly more than half of those (48%) describingthe increase in tactical effectiveness as significant.2018 Digital Marketing Plan SurveyAscend2 and Research Partners, December 201710

MOST DIFFICULT TACTICS TO EXECUTETwo very technical tactics – data management and marketing technology –stand out as difficult to execute. This is primarily due to the fact that the skills,capabilities and resources required to execute these technical tactics are notalways available in-house.2018 Digital Marketing Plan SurveyAscend2 and Research Partners, December 201711

RESOURCES USED TO EXECUTE TACTICS93% of marketing influencers in total say they outsource all or part of theexecution of digital marketing tactics to specialists. Nearly two-thirds (63%)consider a collaboration between outsourced and in-house resources themost effective way to execute digital marketing tactics.2018 Digital Marketing Plan SurveyAscend2 and Research Partners, December 201712

HOW EFFECTIVENESS AND DIFFICULTY COMPARETactics that are much more effective than difficult to execute, such as socialmedia marketing, are more likely to be part of a digital marketing plan than atactic that is considered less effective than difficult to execute, such as datamanagement. An example of how difficulty can impact perceived effectiveness.2018 Digital Marketing Plan SurveyAscend2 and Research Partners, December 201713

Research-Based Marketingfor Marketing Solution ProvidersMarketing technology companies and digital marketingagencies partner with Ascend2 to reliably generatedemand and supplement marketing content for theirown business development efforts. Below are just a fewof the leading marketing solution providers that Partnerwith us on research-based marketing programs.Learn more about us at Ascend2.comAs a marketing technologycompany or digital marketingagency, your prospectivecustomers are marketinginfluencers with an interest in thefacts about improving marketingperformance.Research-Based Marketing is aprocess we developed to generateleads using factual content ofinterest to your target customers,and nurture those leads tomarketing-qualified status in thename of your brand.14

Research Partner ProgramsResearch Partner Programs rapidly deliver factual content ofinterest to marketers and a guaranteed number of leads tomarketing solution providers, in two simple steps:1. Choose marketing topics of interest to your audience. A new marketing topic is surveyed every month2. Choose an exclusive data segment for each topic. Successful Strategy Benchmarks Leadership Benchmarks B2B Benchmarks B2C Benchmarks Enterprise Benchmarks SMB Benchmarks Agency Benchmarks And more!Learn more about Ascend2 Research-Based Marketing bycalling 800-762-1595 extension 703 or visit Ascend2.com.This Survey Summary Report ispart of a monthly research seriesconducted in partnership withmarketing solution providers.You may adapt, copy, distributeand transmit this work. However,you must attribute the work asproduced by Ascend2 and itsResearch Partners but not in anyway that suggests that theyendorse you or your use of thework.When you share this content,please provide a link back tohttp://ascend2.com15

Social media marketing, content marketing and the marketing technology that drives these tactics, are most effective for 18%, 17% and 16% of marketing influencers respectively. 9 2018 Digital Marketing Pl

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